How Do I Know If I’m A Sex Addict?

Before we provide you with a simple 2 question test to help you know your truth around this question, it will help if we first present some basic information about sex addiction and how it functions.  Our literature informs us that there are two essential elements to sex addiction:

1.  Problem of the body.

2.  Obsession of the mind.  

The problem of the body and the phenomenon of craving can be explained like this.

A sex addict may begin acting out with a sincere commitment to limit him/her self to a few minutes or only a certain type or level of behavior, but once they start engaging in their addictive sexual behaviors they lose all control and end up going further than they intended.

In SAA, this is often referred to as the “bubble.” It is a trance-like state where we lose track of time, how much money we are spending, and/or what behaviors we are engaging in.

 A sincere desire to limit any of the above often ends up with us exceeding that limitation. This may not happen every time, but as our disease progresses the examples of our ability to control become fewer and further between. This is what is commonly known as powerlessness. It is an inability to control our addictive sexual behaviors once we begin them.

The craving that results when we engage in the first behavior causes us to go on binges and sprees. We destroy relationships. We lose jobs. We lose friends. We sometimes get in trouble with the law. The consequences of our powerlessness provide us with the motivation to change. They give us a desire to stop for good and for all.

If this were our only problem, the solution would be simple.  Stop.  But this is the crux of our disease.  

Even when we want to quit for good the obsession of the mind prevents us from being able to stick to this decision.


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   [If we suffer from the “Obsession of the mind” then we have lost the ability to  choose  to stop.]

[If we suffer from the “Obsession of the mind” then we have lost the ability to choose to stop.]

We have made commitment after commitment, promise after promise to stop. The insane language common to most of us was, “This time will be different.” Our real problem, and the defining characteristic of a real addict, is a failure to stop and stay stopped for good and for all.  An utter inability to stay away from these addictive sexual behaviors no matter how great the consequences or the desire to abstain.

This is commonly referred to as unmanageability which simply means that we can not manage the decision to stop and stay stopped.

The Test 

Our literature provides us with a valuable test comprised of two questions for discovering our truth.  It doesn’t get more simple than this.

1.  When acting out do you have little control over the amount of time/money you spend or the behaviors you engage in?  

2.  When you honestly want to, are you unable to quit entirely? 

The first question helps us to see if we have the problem of the body.  If you answer YES to the first question then you are most-likely either a real or potential sex addict.  You have a tendency to show signs of an abnormal reaction to an otherwise normal substance.  This means you react to addictive sexual behavior differently than most people. 

Normal people can engage in these behaviors without a problem.  They can watch porn, have selfish sex, go to strip clubs, engage in self-sex, and so forth, without experiencing the phenomenon of craving or the subsequent loss of control.

If you cannot give a clear-cut yes-or-no answer to the first question then here is our suggestion. 

Try some controlled acting out. Try to act out and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it.

Here is an example: 

I will masturbate for 20 minutes while viewing only soft-core pornography. I will spend $0 to accomplish this.

If we step over the boundaries that we have set for ourselves this is an indicator that we are not like normal people.  The phenomenon of craving sets in when we engage in these behaviors.  It is the craving that causes us to slip into the “bubble” and eventually we go on a spree or binge.

It is important to know our truth around the first question.  If we are able to control our behaviors then the rest should not be an issue.

Now let’s look at the second question of the test: 

2.  When you honestly want to, are you unable to quit entirely? 
YES or NO 

If you answer YES to the second question it shows that you most likely suffer from the obsession of the mind.  If you are a real sex addict then you will not be able to stand by your most sincere decision to stop for good.  No matter how badly you want or need to stop acting out, your mind will eventually convince you to start again.

When we were in the grips of our addiction we inevitably found some trivial excuse, justification, or rationalization to engage in our behaviors again. We may have thought we were making a conscious decision, but after the spree ended we could not understand how we started “the insane experiment” again.  The excuses were sometimes plausible, but they never really made sense in light of the damage that our addiction caused.  

If you have answered YES to either question 1 or 2, it is a strong indicator that you could be suffering from sex addiction. 

We can offer you this beacon of hope: we found a way that works for us.  Our obsession has been removed and we are now free. If it can work for us, then surely it can work for you too.

Only the individual can make this diagnosis, but we believe we can help you discover your truth by sharing our experience.  We encourage you to reach out to us. 

Call us today 24/7 at our Helpline (413) 353-HELP.  Google Voice will transfer your call to one of our sober recovered members so that we can answer any questions you might have.